Europe: 1800 – 1900

The century begins with Romanticism. In France, violent and exotic paintings by Gros, Gericault and Delacroix are balanced by the cool sensuality of Ingres. Meanwhile in Spain, Francisco Goya documented the horrors he witnessed during Napoleon’s occupation. In England, as the industrial revolution transformed the countryside, replacing fields with factories, painters turned to landscape. Constable painted his native Suffolk and imbued it with a sense of affection for rural life. Turner, on the other hand, created dramatic and sublime landscapes with a sense of the heroic or even the tragic. In Germany, the art of Caspar David Friedrich exemplifies Romanticism’s interest in the big questions—of man’s mortality and place in the universe. The early photography of Niépce, Daguerre, Cameron posed questions about art, aesthetics, and technology we still try to answer today. The Realists, Impressionists and Post-Impressionists confronted life in the modern city, but used subjective experience to invent new ways to see and paint. By the 1880s artists such as Klimt and Khnopff focused on the interior self by exploring dreams and myth.









A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte – 1884 by Georges Seurat is considered to be one of the most important 19th century paintings. Find out more with James Rondeau, President and Eloise W. Martin Director of the Art Institute of Chicago.

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of ...










Attributed to Kashmir, detail of shawl of joined fragments, pashmina wool, late 18th century (The Met)
For centuries, handwoven cloth from the Kashmir region of the Indian subcontinent has been revered for its exquisite softness and decorative surface patterns.

Cashmere shawls